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Viewing entries posted in June 2015
I've said it before and I'll happily say it again—I love my work as a criminal defence lawyer here in Calgary.
The more cynical reader might think that Calgary's low and falling crime rate would make this a less-than-ideal time to practice criminal defence law in the city, but the simple truth is that I enjoy a safe and stable city just like anyone else.
Common assault is a charge that is all too, well, common, in the Greater Calgary Area and throughout the province. The problem isn't that violent altercations are such a commonplace occurrence in the lives of most Calgarians, but rather that the Alberta law defining common assault is so broad. This problem has been discussed in previous articles on this site, but simply put, almost any unwanted touching or even the threat of unwanted physical contact can be deemed a common assault, and can result in a criminal charge.
Credit card skimming, in which identity thieves use physical devices to read (and steal) Canadian consumer's credit card numbers, was recently on the rise in Calgary, and according to Calgary Police it could be linked to organized crime.
Two suspects have been arrested in a case in which they allegedly built credit card skimming devices, attached them to at least 38 gas station pumps throughout Calgary, and used the numbers to create fake credit cards.
Ask any member of the Calgary Police Services, any Crown prosecutor, and any Calgary-area criminal defence lawyer and they'll tell you: drug offences are still very common in and around the city, and they can cause a serious disruption to your life. This is true for all types of drug-related offences, from simple possession of a controlled substance that might result in a fine and/or a brief jail sentence, to charges of drug trafficking that can carry much longer prison sentences and other penalties upon conviction.
I've written plenty here about why I practice criminal defence law here in Calgary, and why I believe defence lawyers are an important part of the criminal justice system.
Defence lawyers help ensure that everyone accused of a crime is treated fairly, and that the rule of law is something everyone—including Calgary's law enforcement officers and court officials—respects and adheres to.
Assault comes in many forms, and alleged assaults are responsible for a significant portion of arrests made in the Calgary area every year. Whenever you are charged with an assault, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how legitimate you feel the charge is, partnering with an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer is often in your best interests, and can help your assault case proceed with as little stress and disruption to your life as possible.
You're pulled over by the Calgary Police, given a field sobriety test, and taken into custody under suspicion of impaired driving or DUI. When should you request to speak with a Calgary DUI lawyer? What can a lawyer do for you and the charges you might be facing?
The answer: ask to speak to a defence lawyer right away, because they can do a great deal for you. The earlier you contact a Calgary lawyer after being detained for an alleged or suspected DUI, the less disruptive an impaired driving charge will be for your life, for your family, for your finances, and for your career. An experienced defence lawyer will be able to start working on your behalf right away, possibly postponing or even eliminating the automatic penalties imposed by law on everyone in Calgary charged with a DUI.
The Calgary Police lay assault charges against people every day, and the Calgary courts hear defences against assault accusations almost as frequently. Because common assault is so broadly defined and so easily charged, as explained in a previous post it's little wonder that so many assault accusations result in criminal charges.
Sometimes, however, an assault accusation is completely without merit, arising from a fraudulent complaint that can nevertheless result in serious legal problems for the accused. Very little evidence is required for the Calgary Police to follow through with charges if a complaint regarding an assault is made, and though more proof is required to secure a conviction for assault before a Calgary judge, a defence lawyer is still your best bet when it comes to beating a false assault charge.
Calgary Police and Crown prosecutors might soon see a rise in drug offences involving the illegal possession or abuse of certain prescription drugs, but not because offences are necessarily occurring at a higher rate.
The regulators in control of Alberta's system for monitoring prescription drugs are expanding the province's triplicate prescription program, which is used by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to track certain prescriptions and identify instances of abuse.
During the height of gang violence in Calgary, Alberta passed new legislation making the definition of a criminal gang much broader, and making it far easier for Calgary police and other law enforcement agencies to bring a charge of gang affiliation against those who otherwise could not be accused of any crime. This makes it especially important for Calgary citizens to understand gang laws, and to understand their rights when it comes to a defence against criminal charges of gang involvement or gang affiliation.
Many of the informative articles published on this site have provided information on drug offences in Calgary—on the laws that criminalize the possession of certain substances, on the public health perspective that has led to changes in the way law enforcement and the Calgary courts pursue many charges for simple drug possession, and on the ways a criminal defence lawyer can help those in Calgary accused of even minor drug charges move on with their lives with minimal disruption and worry.
When a person in Calgary is accused of assaulting someone, there are two basic ways in which the charges can proceed in the courts and the criminal justice system at large: as an indictable offence, or as a summary conviction offence. There are some significant differences in the way these two types of cases proceed, but both can result in a conviction that carries very real criminal penalties along with it.
As I've mentioned previously in this blog, I started out as a Crown prosecutor here in Calgary before I moved to criminal defence law. There are several factors that influenced my decision, but as I look at new laws being passed and changing attitudes in Canadian society I'm reminded of one in particular.
There is an entire system supported by taxpayers that is stacked against anyone accused of a crime. This system, in Calgary and in every city throughout the nation, is staffed by people who go to work every day with the goal of pursuing alleged criminals and getting them convicted. They have abundant knowledge and experience when it comes to pursuing those they think have committed crimes—it's their job.